Fr. Joseph Baker ordained a priest for the Diocese of Madison Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jun. 30, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
baker ordination
Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison performs the Laying on of Hands rite upon Fr. Joseph Baker at Father Baker's ordination Mass June 24 at St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- The Lord has a new laborer for his harvest, chosen by the Holy Spirit.

On June 24, Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison ordained Fr. Joseph Baker to the priesthood at St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison.

The soon-to-be ordained processed into the church at the start of Mass with family and friends looking on.

Along with Bishop Morlino, the procession included the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard Assembly 1200 Madison, the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard Assembly 1948 Waunakee, Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, seminarians of the Diocese of Madison, priests of the diocese, and priest guests.

A 'beautiful gift'

Bishop Morlino welcomed everyone to the "wonderful celebration of gratitude and "How wonderful it is the Lord gives the Diocese of Madison such a beautiful gift on this feast day of the birthday of St. John the Baptist," he added.

As Mass began, the support of Father Baker's family was fully illustrated when his grandmother, Dolores Baker, read the second reading.

Following the Gospel, read by Transitional Deacon Jared Holzhuter, then Deacon Baker was presented to Bishop Morlino by Fr. Donald Henke from the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where Father Baker studied.

During the homily, Bishop Morlino recalled when he met Father Baker for the first time, he hoped "together we would see this day." He added, "How grateful I am for your prayer and perseverance in your study that enabled us to come here. How grateful I am to your mom and dad for being here."

Bishop Morlino also reflected on one of the ordination rites -- the Laying on of Hands.

Click to read the homily given at Fr. Joseph Baker's First Mass of Thanksgiving on June 25, 2016, at Holy Redeemer Church in Madison by Fr. David Carrano, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Reedsburg.

"It's always been a matter of silence and there's a very good reason for that and the reason is that we humans, we mortals, should just clam up and let the Holy Spirit at that moment speak actually unspeakable words that only Joe can hear," Bishop Morlino said.

"Nobody else can hear them and he may not even hear them tonight clearly. But as the days go on, one of the things that he can look forward to is the coming of clarity to the words the Holy Spirit spoke to him in silence tonight."

Ordination rites

Following Bishop Morlino's homily, Father Baker rose before the bishop to make his promises as a priest: to proclaim the Church's faith in word and deed, to be celibate "for the sake of the kingdom," and to respect and obey the bishop and his successors.

The Litany of Supplication followed where he lay prostrate on the floor "dying" to his old self and then rising to his new life and ministry ahead as a priest. A litany of saints was sung while this took place.

Next, came the Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination. Bishop Morlino placed his hands on his head, conferring upon him the gift of the Holy Spirit. Priests of the diocese then took turns also laying their hands on his head, symbolizing his ordination to the presbyterate.

The newly ordained was then vested with a stole and chasuble. Father Baker was vested by Fr. Paul Arinze, pastor at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Beloit and former director of vocations for the Diocese of Madison.

The bishop then anointed the hands of Father Baker with Sacred Chrism.

After the gifts of bread and wine were brought forward and presented to the bishop, he presented the gifts to Father Baker, reminding him to strive to imitate the mysteries that are celebrated at Mass.

Priests in attendance again lined up to offer a sign of peace to the newly ordained.

First priestly work

The Mass continued with a profession of faith, followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Father Baker concelebrated with the bishop during the Eucharistic Prayer.

At Communion, Father Baker distributed the Blessed Sacrament to those who received. Following Communion, he gave his first blessings to Bishop Morlino, then his parents.

Father Baker's first assignment will be as parochial vicar at St. Cecilia Parish in Wisconsin Dells, then returning to Rome for the 2016 to 2017 school year to continue Licentiate studies in Moral Theology/Bioethics at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

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